I got interested in driving from a Dressage background and started the Driving Division of Equestrians Institute in the Seattle area in 1987. Their interest is in Combined Driving, and they have put on an ADS approved CDE every year since. I have competed successfully in Washington, Oregon, California and British Columbia with my MorganX mare. I trained my horse myself, attending clinics with Larry Poulin, Sally Graburn, Bill Lower, David Saunders, the Kinsellas and Susan Woods.
I was appointed Regional Representative for the Northwest Region of the American Driving Society at the program's inception in 1988, was subsequently elected to the ADS Board of Directors, and served on the Recreational Driving and Local Clubs committees.
I was previously licensed by the ADS as a Technical Delegate in Combined Driving, the first in the Northwest, and have since encouraged several other candidates to pursue licensing. I have assisted at shows and events in Florida, Kentucky, Missouri, Michigan, Texas, Toronto, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Wyoming, Washington and Oregon, from club-level to ADS 3-day CDEs. I traveled to England to observe competitions at Brighton and Windsor in 1989, and met with event organizers there to discuss common concerns. I have written articles for regional and national publications, including The Whip, The Chronicle of the Horse, and Driving West. I was also an ADS Approved Clinician until they discontinued that program.
I prefer learning environment to competition and I most enjoy working with beginning drivers and clubs, helping to ensure a pleasant introduction to driving; and owner trainers, who learn to develop a successful relationship with their horse. My primary efforts have been in working to demystify dressage and show how it is the basis for athletic development of the horse, and the communication between horse and human. As drivers skills increase, however, I am also finding there is a need for the refinement of dressage driving that my techniques address so well. Without any change in focus, the basic exercises I teach will be useful throughout a horses career.
I studied with Sally Graburn when she was in New Mexico and over the ensuing couple of years of training hundreds of horses and owners, developed a unique system I call Groundwork Training, that is especially suited to the owner/trainer. The system includes longlining groundwork, which offers a very clear means of communication, the development of rapport and a sense of partnership, and the opportunity to improve rein-handling techniques. It affords the rider/driver an exceptional vantage pointto actually see how the horse is moving-and better safety and control than other methods. It is excellent at any stage of training, from introductory ground driving, for a warmup routine, to more advanced dressage schooling.
All the aids are identical to ones used when hitched and (although there are no seat and leg aids, the training in the use of the voice and whip as driving aids are very helpful to ridden horses as well) refine the rein aids, especially use of the supporting outside rein. The system includes a series of suppling exercises to carry over into work in harness or under saddle, providing a continuity for both horse and rider/driver.
I have taught clinics for beginning and intermediate drivers; for Western or English or dressage or combined driving or pleasure riders, for 4H; for horses as young as 6 months, for spoiled or problem horses; for breaking/training or driving training or ridden dressage training. I have officiated at organized combined driving events, pleasure driving shows, 4H shows.
To promote the sport of combined driving, I have conducted clinics in "Introduction to Combined Driving" for clubs throughout the NW-some of whom have since gone on to hold approved CDEs. I have designed innumerable marathon courses, hazards and obstacle courses for shows, fun days and CDEs. Because a combined driving event itself is rather complex to organize, I have been interested in suggesting driving activities that are fun and challenging without being such a burden or expense. And Im always on the lookout for fun places to driveso if you know of a great place, let me know!!
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